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Detroit automaker turns to 'Freakonomics'

From | April 30,2007

Steven Levitt, a University of Chicago economist known for his best-selling book "Freakonomics," said Thursday he's consulting with one of the major Detroit automakers to help in its turnaround.

In Detroit to deliver a speech, Levitt would not identify the automaker. He said only that a "visionary leader" called him months ago to say he had enjoyed Levitt's book and wondered if the maverick economist could help his company.

Levitt and his team spent a day at the company.

"We're looking at issues related to health care, we're looking at productivity in plants, we've talked about marketing, Web sites. ... We're just ... seeing if there's anything that we can say that can be of use, and anything that we can learn by looking at the data differently that will help them."

Levitt's book includes insightful, often humorous, explanations on such topics as why drug dealers live with their mothers and how to prove that sumo wrestlers cheat.

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